• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Best Apologists of Our Time?

Philosopher and professional apologist (one who “defends the faith”) William Lane Craig writes here about what he sees as the recent revival of apologetics on campuses and elsewhere. He cites the work of a variety of professional philosophers, such as Richard Swinburne, William Alston, and Alvin Plantinga.

Another article in the same journal cites Bible scholars such as Ben Witherington and Darrell Bock as those willing to do public battle on behalf of orthodoxy.

All this is well, and also good. I am personally grateful to the aforementioned worthies for their excellent scholarship, sharp argumentation, and willingness to read and respond to the latest atheist bestseller.

Apologetics, however, is more than analytical philosophy of religion (the focus of Bill Craig’s article) or the history of the New Testament. It’s about anything that points to the plausibility and credibility of the gospel. And that means a very wide range indeed of Christian activity.

So whom would you nominate as the best apologists of our day? Whose life and work draw people’s attention positively to the church and its Lord? Here are a few candidates (that reflect my perch in the ivory tower, to be sure):

Mother Teresa–doubts and all–gotta be in the Top Ten

U2 and Arcade Fire: Christians can be cool, musical, and conscientious

Rodney Stark: All of Western history is not too big a canvas to make his case for the (generally positive) influence of Christianity

Tom Morris: Good philosophy (which is simply God’s truth, when done properly) can help your business . . . and your soul, and your family, and your nation . . .

Alister McGrath and John Polkinghorne: A theologian and a priest who pack serious scientific credentials

George Marsden, Mark Noll, and Harry Stout: Evangelicalism and Christianity in general deserve a serious (historical) look

Christopher Parkening: When he plays Bach, the angels listen

Billy Graham and John Paul II: Once you get to know them, they’re not nearly as bad as you thought, and actually pretty impressive . . .

International Justice Mission: Doing some of what needs to be done in some very dark places

World Vision and the Salvation Army: Work worth every dollar anyone gives them

A Rocha: See? Christians care about the environment, too!

The Wittenburg Door: See? Christians can be funny, too!

The floor is now open for further nominations . . .